Refurbishing a multi-purpose holiday home in Salcombe

Refurbishing a multi-purpose holiday home in Salcombe

From recommending concept and design of the refurbishment to the interior design and full procurement right down to the cutlery, this Salcombe refurbishment project was about bringing a much-loved family property up to date and making it work as both a welcoming second home and a successful holiday let.

The owners of 3 Victoria Quay approached us about refurbishing a family property in Salcombe, which had previously been the full-time residence of their parents. Now under the joint ownership of two family members – one based in Bristol and the other in Australia – and both of whom had busy jobs, they wanted to update it for the family to enjoy and also so that it could sustain itself financially.

With more than 15 years’ experience working with and refurbishing  holiday homes, we understand the considerations of designing a seaside property to meet the practical needs and regulations of a holiday let. The property was clearly loved, but had not been updated for a long time, and was set up with full-time living in mind.

We discussed the owners’ overarching ideas, and then took full control of the design, the refurbishment and the interiors set-up to achieve their goals. We put together two proposals; the first was for the refurbishment work itself, the second was for the interior design and procurement of all furnishings and accessories from sofas and garden furniture down to kitchen utensils and bed linen.

A property with character and style

As a traditional fishing cottage in the centre of Salcombe, and with an enviable view of the estuary, the style and functionality of Victoria Quay needed to make the most of the space inside and out. We wanted to retain and enhance the original, while making it a holiday home suited to modern living. 

The building had a number of original features that we were able to uncover. Removing secondary glazing and repairing the original sash windows as well as the shutters. We also oriented the rooms to make the most of the view, cutting back the overgrown garden and maximising the space inside and out. For example, the open-plan living area now makes the most of the views of the water and Lifeboat, allowing guests to watch the the crabbing on the quayside throughout the summer. 

A complete project management service

With multiple stakeholders and the distance at which the owners were working from, they wanted to make full use of the project management skills that our team has to offer. As a result, having listened to their ideas, we were able to take the lead on the details when it came to colours, materials and soft furnishings.

Aware of the dual function of the property – both for personal and public use – we wanted to maximise letting potential and make the space as durable as possible. However, we also wanted it to be stylish, contemporary and welcoming. This had a bearing not only on how the space was to be used but also the colours and materials that we incorporated.

For example, we wanted it to reflect the expectations and needs of a holiday cottage by the sea but in a contemporary way that didn’t feel cluttered due to all the necessary seating and commercial requirements. Therefore, we incorporated a deep blue in the living room soft furnishings – which was both practical and stylish, and also chose compact sofas and armchairs that didn’t dominate the space but ensured enough room for the maximum number of guests . For the walls, we chose a variation on white throughout the property to make ongoing maintenance easy when touching up scuff marks at the end of the letting season. We added interest to the bedrooms  by introducing coloured tongue and groove panelling using an oil-based paint which is hard wearing.

We installed an engineered oak floor downstairs to withstand sandy feet and salty clothes after a day on the water and upstairs we opted for a carpet that feels luxurious but is a practical twist style and easy to clean.  Equally, when it came to filling cupboards with glasses and crockery, we chose items that the owners or their property manager can easy to replace (as is often required in letting holiday homes) – either due to their simple style or manufacturer dependability. Where possible and price competitive, we also used local suppliers such as kitchenware store, Boccinelli in Kingsbridge.

At each stage, the owners were kept updated with information and shared mood boards through our online dashboard and regular phone and email communications, while we managed the day-to-day operations and presented options for them to choose from.

Creating a multi-purpose space in a holiday home

Operating as a letting holiday home requires a certain amount of adaptability as well as durability.With its three bedrooms and two bathrooms we had space to provide accommodation for up to six adults and two children. 

With that number of beds available, we also needed to make sure there was enough seating in the dining and living areas. We did this by making careful choices when it came to the types of sofa, as well as creating window seats and adding options that could be packed away such as comfy floor cushions.

The large family bedroom downstairs had space that allowed us to include three beds as well as one pull-out bed. Upstairs, the master bedroom was oriented to enjoy the view of the Lifeboat and East Portlemouth from the double bed. Meanwhile, by adding wood panelling in lieu of a headboard in the twin room, the link-attached beds could be used as either two single beds or one king sized double bed, whilst still looking intentional and purposeful. The paneling also allowed us to even up a wall obscured by the old chimney and enabling us to configure the beds to enjoy a sea view towards Snape’s Point.

Equally, the downstairs space needed to include details such as a useful utility room to pack away swimsuits after a day at the beach. We made use of a small area and clever storage that allowed for everything to be neatly put away when not in use. 

While most of our work was inside the property, the details make all the difference to how a home is experienced, so we couldn’t leave the outside space without a lift of its own. Having cut back the overgrown plants to make use of the view without reducing the property’s privacy, we added festoon lights to the house, a barbecue, seating area and a contemporary outdoor dining table – perfect for summer evenings.

Repurposing, being responsible and creating a sense of home

As part of the work that we do, we are often asked to clear out old furniture in properties before we begin. We do our best to reuse and repurpose furniture wherever possible but sometimes it will not work in the property in its new capacity – either stylistically or because items don’t meet regulation standards for letting. We always seek to dispose of them or rehome responsibly and do our best to find new owners or give them to local charities.?

However, we also try to include details that nod to the history of the home. For example, in this case, the owner’s father had a collection of antique wooden hangers from the tailor where he had his suits made. Instead of putting imposing wardrobes in the bedrooms, we re-used the hangers on hooks on the walls and subsidised storage with chests of drawers, knowing that few people bring lots of hanging items on a holiday to the seaside. We also re-framed old paintings that the family owned, and sourced antique postcards of the local area to place in a beautiful two-way frame that was already in the property.

A holiday home designed to keep guests coming back

Work began in December 2019 with a view to being ready for the holiday letting market from late March 2020. The pandemic that ensued meant that there were some delays in delivery times and the ability to work. However, the property was ready for letting by July and was booked back-to-back throughout the summer. Guests have responded incredibly well to the property, noting how well-prepared it is as well as enjoying the style and layout.

We have been coming to Salcombe for over 50 years as a family and this is definitely the most convenient location that we have stayed in. The property has been refurbished to an excellent standard and a good size for 5/6 adults plus children.
Guests at 3 Victoria Quay

Meanwhile, the owners of the property have been happy with both the process and results of working with Refurb from Pebbles

We were very impressed with the finished product it is everything we hoped for. [We] are delighted we chose to work with "Team Pebbles"
John Homer